Telecommuting has been gaining ground for quite some time and has become especially relevant during the present crisis. It has been estimated that nearly 50 percent of professionals are involved in telecommuting at one point of time or another. The concept of telecommuting is not only appealing to employees but also to managers. However, despite its obvious benefits, there are certain challenges associated with the concept. Here are some tips for you to handle your telecommuting team efficiently and get the best results.
Set the agenda
In order to have a successful remote team, it is important that the main purpose and goals are clear to every person in the team. As a manager, you should ensure that the goals are set in concrete terms and are clearly communicated. It is also imperative that the main or common goals are further subdivided into individual goals, so that every person in the team knows what his or her Key Result Areas are. Since remote teams do not congregate physically, the progress towards achievement of goals should be constantly measured. This can be done with the help of several online and collaborative tools. Setting up enforceable deadlines is also important to keep the entire team in line.
Since remote working is still not a widely popular concept, it is necessary that the team imbibes feelings of belongingness and cohesiveness. In order to foster these traits, you should keep the team engaged. This can be done by carrying out regular meetings. Nowadays, there are several tools available for this purpose. Virtual meeting software such as Skype and Zoom can come to your rescue. Depending on the bandwidth and your requirements, you can schedule voice-based meetings or video meetings. It is advisable to plan some sort of communication every day to ensure that the entire team is working towards the same goal.
Instill team spirit and trust
The success of a remote team largely depends on the collaborative spirit and individual responsibility of the team members. In the telecommuting mode, it is difficult to constantly supervise your team. Therefore, in order to get the best possible performance, you should instill the concepts of individual responsibility and accountability. While group meetings are important for fostering team spirit, you should also conduct regular one-on-one meetings with your team members to provide them with proper guidance and feedback. Such regular interaction can be helpful for the appraisal process and for designing work processes.
Use the right tools
Telecommuting is on the rise, and so, there are newer tools coming up every day, to help you manage your remote team in a more efficient manner. While emails are good for keeping track and for regular communication, the constant back and forth mailing can become tedious after some time. It is therefore more advisable to use dedicated tools such as project trackers and meeting recording software. Project management tools such as Trello, Asana and Airtable are highly recommended in this regard. These software solutions can help you in aligning your entire team in terms of deadlines, accountability and expectations. You can also use these tools for commenting on the performance of your teammates and for reassigning tasks.
Provide proper feedback
In a remote setup, it is vital that you keep the team spirit up by keeping the communication channels open. The proper exchange of feedback is also important, along with a support system. Once you provide comments on your employees’ work, follow it up with helpful tips and guidance. With proper communication, you can ensure that the individual goals of your team members are in sync with your team goals. The process of evaluation can be further enhanced by setting up a proper communication strategy. You can schedule formal check-ins in advance to meet the requirements of your team members.
Remote working is the new normal now, and is set to become even more popular in the future. With the help of the above tips, you can ensure that your team is able to offer their best even from afar. The use of the latest technology and tools can help all of you accomplish goals in an efficient manner.